Handler: Roger Coor
Date of Crossing:
Bio: I have trained dogs going on 25 years now. I had tried Agility early when it came around, but at that time there was only one level and two jump heights. In today’s terms it would be like asking an 8” Novice dog to run a USDAA Master’s course at 18” with a green handler. Well it wasn’t going to happen, so I went back to Obedience. I had several dogs that competed at Invitationals so I was doing fairly well. At one point I had two very highly trained Obedience dogs that in less than a month were both diagnosed with inoperable conditions and had to be retired. Within a few months I lost both of them. I thought I would find another Pap within a few months and get on with Obedience. For over two years I looked at nearly 200 dogs. I was heart sick, what to do, then I got a call from a breeder that said she had sold a dog to a family and the dog had an accidental breeding with the family’s other dog! There was this litter if I was interested go see the puppies. Great, just great! But at that point I realized you have to check every dog out.
Well, this family had not read any of the books on how to raise pups, but their instincts were right on the money. Everything they were doing was perfect for socializing and growing a litter. I went in the home and first meet the sire, this dog had never been trained to do anything, yet it instantly responded to focus games and within 5 minutes I had trained him to heel off leash. He spent the next 4 hours devoted to me. Well, this was one super smart dog and if his son was anything like him, look out. The dame was absolutely incredibly agile, she could climb, run and had body awareness like few dogs. The litter at seven weeks old had the attention of a gnat, but they had energy, were sociable and every few minutes came back to check on the humans, all good signs. I did temperament and intelligent tests on the litter. Frankly I am not sure how valuable it is, but these dogs passed with flying colors. After looking at so many dogs that were just not quite right, I was leery that there must be something wrong here, it just looked too good to be true. We took the puppy with the mind of doing Obedience and spent most of the next year just focusing on attention and learning to learn. This dog had energy to burn, so I though just possibly it might be good in agility as well as Obedience. We started to take agility lessons at Jumping Chollas and the rest is history.
When you go to an agility trial most handlers walk their dogs around to take the edge off of them at the start, well I was the only one taking the edge off of the dog at the end of the trial just to be able to take him home.
Perhaps one of the more dramatic events was when we went outside of the Phoenix area for the first time, it was in Del Mar, California at the USDAA Championships where most of the top dogs and handlers were competing. In Steeplechase there are two rounds and the top runs advance to the second round the following day. In that run my 12” Papillon ran the fastest of all runs of all dogs of any size. Since the second round is reverse seeded, it was the only time that the 12” height ran last as the featured height in round 2 of the Championship’s Steeplechase. In the second round we easily won the event. For that there was only one Border Collie in another jump height that ran faster by 1/3 of a second. Even on that second run Moso had out run just about all dogs. The judge had asked me and my dog to come out after that run to take a bow that was Moso’s introduction to the big time agility.
Around that time the FICA World Cup had only two jump heights, but was introducing a third height for small dogs at 14”, so we campaigned all over the southwest to practice and get enough scores to be able to even make the tryouts for the AKC World Team. Remember that in those days there were far fewer trials in Arizona and not nearly enough AKC to qualify for the tryouts.
The AKC World Team tryouts are actually one of the most intimate trials you will find with perhaps only 100 people at the event. Frankly if you want to see one of the best Agility events anywhere in the world it is worth going to this. The courses are more European in nature. When I went frankly no one knew me, or my dog and they had other ideas which dogs were probably going to make it. In this even they take the fastest clean run and add 5 seconds to get the Standard Course Time. When Moso run it was the norm even at this level to give most of the other dog’s time faults. I was told they simply could not ignore us as a team member. That first year in Germany the small dog team got a silver medal. The same thing happened the second year of tryouts and Moso was allowed to run more runs. On several of the runs he was the fastest, and was actually only a small tunnel bobble away from a gold medal. The crowds are like soccer crowds of 15 to 20 thousand screaming people. We were told that if your run is good, by the last 1/3 of the run it would get so loud you could not give verbals. These people normally ran only a very short distance from their dogs, but with a NADAC background I ran much further away which actually made the courses easier, but with superfast dog and an unconventional style within a few obstacles the noise was so loud I was totally without verbal commands. I can still see the look in Moso’s eyes when we step up to the line on his fastest run, he always had a fire in his eyes, but this was at a whole different level. I knew I better run like crazy and give him his rein or crash and burn. They say that when you are in the zone, things slow down and you perceive more input. To this day, especially that run runs through my head and even though the run was less than a minute, it stretches out in my mind for what seems like hours. He was the fastest of more than 450 dogs from more than 30 countries.
To say Moso was a gift of a life time is understate. To have been on the FICA World Team a lot of thing have to align, right time in one’s life, to have a fire to love working and improving every aspect of your relationship with your dog. To be able to draw out every little bit, to hone all of those skills, to afford the time and expense of training and campaigning. To say we came close to a gold medal, but lost is a mindset created by our media of nothing less than first will do. The only person who loses is the person who is not willing to risk losing to win. Just putting in every ounce of effort and announcing that is your intention is a journey few will know. I would give all that glory up just to have one more run with him.
Thanks for the memories, thanks for helping me learn the joy of agility in the fast lane and the space to try new things. Thank the lord I did go checkout that accidental litter. I have the honor of running his son Primo now. In 2011 Primo won the Purina Incredible Dog Challenge finals exactly 10 years after Moso won in 2001.